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Thoughts on XC schooling.

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  • Thoughts on XC schooling.

    I was talking with a friend the other day and it came up the difference in schoolng xc vs a competition run and schooling with friends vs going out with an instructor. As an aside, going with an instructor does not include a clinic situation.
    I was a little pived as I had gone xc schooling with an instructor and my horse was put in a crap situation that would not have happened in competetion. We were told to jump 4 jumps. One of the jumps was a table but not identified as such. I will say I did NOT ride the ride so we both got looky at the table and my mare did exit stage right. In competition I would have seen this jump 3 times and known it was a table and known how to ride my mare to it. I felt very badly for giving her a crap experience at a jump she already has a looky issue with. That's when friend said she rather ride on her own with others than with an instructor because she looks at everything first and then jumps.
    Is it fair though if you are riding with a group w/ an instructor to make everyone wait while you go around and look at all the jumps before you jump them? What are your thoughts on schooling xc w/ or w/o an instructor?

  • #2
    It really depends on the level you are riding at. For me, on any horse, I will go at any fence without walking because I have seen and jumped a whole lot of fences and can usually sum up my ride while I approach. I have ridden in plenty of clinics and lessons where we just went at fences, no walking. There was discussion but no walking. Do you really want to hold up Jimmy Wofford or such? But the same goes for my trainer. He points and I jump.

    For a less experienced rider this may not work. In that case, I suggest if you can't walk, slow the approach. Give yourself time to see what is happening. Heck, you can trot most novice fences so there is no need to panic.

    Again, I grew up just galloping at things in a field and never walking. I do think that this is a good thing from the perspective of making a person a thinking/analyzing rider as you must do in competition. Shadows change between walk times and ride times. The weather my change, a fence may be modified, the crowd is different, all sorts of things that can not be accounted for during a walk.

    Reed

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    • #3
      I usually try to do a quick hack or jog around any fences I may want to school. I don't necessarily care about looking at the "fences." What I am looking for is the holes in the ground that might be on my line, the flag that I can't see laying across the top of the fence from last weeks horse show, the dog snoozing in the shade on the back side (I have seen a horse land on one when a rider did not check- not pretty)...

      When I am schooling alone or with friends it is ALWAYS something I do. With an instructor my instructor usually takes a peek around all the jumps, (although I still tend to scan them myself-habit) and almost certainly gives me instructions about the ride/balance they want to see for the questions we are schooling- otherwise what is the point of having an instructor? I don't have to walk up and look at a table if I know the instructor has checked it to be safe and they say something like "so as you come around to fence 4, the table....."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by EventingChase View Post
        I usually try to do a quick hack or jog around any fences I may want to school. I don't necessarily care about looking at the "fences." What I am looking for is the holes in the ground that might be on my line, the flag that I can't see laying across the top of the fence from last weeks horse show, the dog snoozing in the shade on the back side (I have seen a horse land on one when a rider did not check- not pretty)...

        When I am schooling alone or with friends it is ALWAYS something I do. With an instructor my instructor usually takes a peek around all the jumps, (although I still tend to scan them myself-habit) and almost certainly gives me instructions about the ride/balance they want to see for the questions we are schooling- otherwise what is the point of having an instructor? I don't have to walk up and look at a table if I know the instructor has checked it to be safe and they say something like "so as you come around to fence 4, the table....."
        This. Your ground person should have already checked out the fence. Also best if they id the fence as in vertical, table, drop, etc.
        "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
        Courtesy my cousin Tim

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        • #5
          Originally posted by fooler View Post
          This. Your ground person should have already checked out the fence. Also best if they id the fence as in vertical, table, drop, etc.
          Yeah, it's not smart to jump blindly into unfamiliar turf. I find XC schooling to be much harder than competition runs. Stopping and starting, leaving the "herd", while in competition I've walked the course, know where I am supposed to go and my horse is in "battle mode." That said, the competition runs don't always go as planned either!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by riderboy View Post
            Yeah, it's not smart to jump blindly into unfamiliar turf. I find XC schooling to be much harder than competition runs. Stopping and starting, leaving the "herd", while in competition I've walked the course, know where I am supposed to go and my horse is in "battle mode."
            I agree. I have learned over the years that schooling with groups is best avoided, and that lots of galloping and multiple fences in a row is a good thing. I know Im more chicken schooling, and so is my horse, so making things more like they are on course always helps.

            I think its always smart to check out approach/line/landing when jumping new fences. A hidden drop on landing changes how you ride in. But the instructor should know these things before sending you over as well.

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            • #7
              I've only lessoned/cliniced with people who I have faith will not put me into that type of situation. I do my job as my 'horses advocate' making sure he is sound, fit, the facility is adequate. and he's mentally prepared - but if he's on, I'm with a trusted pro, then I think its fine to point & shoot. Now, I'm new to XC, and a large majority of my XC schooling is more about the gallop, various canters dictated by terrain or jump, positions the rider should be in, staying balanced, speed, rather than the jump - as Reed stated - the BN/N level jumps aren't too worrisome. Now, mistakes still happen due to issues I exited stage left when I decided a Training elevated- log was *that* much bigger than a BN log (um, at BN its just a log, there isn't a bunch of space & then the BN log!) - but the 2nd time around my horse jumped it beautifully. The trainer did their job, I earned a big 'F' for my ride - but fixed it quickly...

              I'd be annoyed with myself for not pulling up & reapproaching - and the trainer for asking me to do something without properly preparing me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by goodmorning View Post
                I've only lessoned/cliniced with people who I have faith will not put me into that type of situation. I do my job as my 'horses advocate' making sure he is sound, fit, the facility is adequate. and he's mentally prepared - but if he's on, I'm with a trusted pro, then I think its fine to point & shoot. Now, I'm new to XC, and a large majority of my XC schooling is more about the gallop, various canters dictated by terrain or jump, positions the rider should be in, staying balanced, speed, rather than the jump - as Reed stated - the BN/N level jumps aren't too worrisome. Now, mistakes still happen due to issues I exited stage left when I decided a Training elevated- log was *that* much bigger than a BN log (um, at BN its just a log, there isn't a bunch of space & then the BN log!) - but the 2nd time around my horse jumped it beautifully. The trainer did their job, I earned a big 'F' for my ride - but fixed it quickly...

                I'd be annoyed with myself for not pulling up & reapproaching - and the trainer for asking me to do something without properly preparing me.
                This. Especially the part about schooling with a pro you know and trust and who knows you and your horse. I get the sense that this was a random instructor that you went schooling with for one reason or another...is this correct?

                If that is true, I think that may have been your biggest mistake- if the instructor knew and you and your horse and you were comfortable with the instructor, they may have known that you needed more info (ie, this horse can be backed off at spreads, you need to know fence 2 is a table). Going without a relationship (or at least some level of trust that they know what they are talking about, like when you take a xc clinic) may have set you up for a bad situation.

                But I also agree with being your horse's advocate. That means both having a tour of wherever you are schooling (like others have said, when I school I typically warm up by trotting and cantering around the general area, both to get an idea of the footing and what is out there to jump, etc) and by asking questions about what you are to jump (if you are not sure) and speaking up if your horse/you have a bogie fence (ex: if I were to school with someone who was unfamiliar with my horse, I would be quick to inform them that my horse doesn't love ditches and trakhners, so I have to channel my inner Bruce Davidson to have successful jumps). It is YOUR job to protect your horse's best interest. It starts with riding with good help and having a relationship with them, but it continues on with being aware of your environment and verbalizing concerns or questions.

                For the record, I am not a huge fan of schooling, anyway. If I was schooling a more advanced horse, I would do it with an instructor/coach I trust and would not just go out, "unsupervised", with friends (unless said friend was also a good eye on the ground who could help me/suggest things). I am comfortable schooling babies their first times out and have a pretty set system for their first schools, so I probably wouldn't bat an eye at tagging along with a friend with a baby horse. I avoid schooling days like the PLAGUE (can you say "chaos?") and typically stick to venues that I am comfortable with (a local schooling field, a park, and the occasional event venue that isn't a total zoo when schooling is offered). My feeling always is once they understand the basic elements of xc (solid fences, water, ditches, and banks), I don't have to school their brains out or school every competition course. If I did my homework, they will be fine no matter where they go, hence, schooling a few select places.
                Amanda

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                • #9
                  A couple parts of your post stood out at me, you said that you have issues with tables and so does your mare.

                  So here you are, happily galloping to the fence listening to your instructor, and all of a sudden your brain registers TABLE OMG. You take your leg off, don't put your leg on, tighten your reins, sit up. Your mare goes TABLE OMG and MY RIDER IS SCARED and it goes downhill from there.

                  While I think taking a tour of a unfamiliar fence and discussing how you need to ride to it is very important, it seems like your big issue is that the table is your bogey fence and had it not been a table you would not have changed your ride and failed to be supportive of your horse. Whenever I say "my horse has an issue with..." my instructor says "she doesn't have the issue, you do." Occasionally it's "she does have an issue so you need to be supportive."

                  If the instructor was unfamiliar with your fear of tables, maybe talking to them before schooling " I have problems riding tables because they scare me" would have helped them change their schooling technique.
                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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